A Letter from Rob

December 13, 2013

One of the hardest decisions we’ve made as a company was made over the last 3–4 months. We have decided that we will not be doing our Echo Conference in 2014 and, as of now, are not committed to any future years either.

For those interested, I want to express our reasoning and thoughts on this. First, Echo is and has been a tremendous part of who we are as a company. Echo is a highlight every year for our company culture. Our staff works hard together, in unison, and it’s very satisfying. Second, Echo has created a tribe… and one that we love. We love connecting with hundreds of like-minded creative types in the Church. Echo has become an annual reunion of sorts for us and many others. We deeply cherish this reunion and the friends we get to see. We also love having interaction with other amazing companies and ministries doing great things. We’ve been lucky to have so many great sponsors and exhibitors and are so grateful for those relationships and ‘business’ partnerships, in some cases.

For me and several others on our team, we love the freedom and creativity we feel when putting together our program and experiential elements. Obviously we value laughing together, thus the 20+ Johnny and Chachi intro videos, the games, the fun themes, and of course the incomparable Davin Bryngrim.

Combine all of this with the fact that Echo has grown in attendance for six straight events. So the big question: why stop doing it?

Let me give an overview of who we are as a company. We are called RT Creative Group. We became a company when I created 5 mini movies, put them on a DVD, and offered them to pastors to help them teach. We expanded into loops, stills, countdowns and most other media resources you can use in a typical church service. Igniter Media just celebrated 10 years and we are extremely committed to what we are doing in the media space there.

Around two years ago, we acquired Graceway Media and are equally committed to creating and offering services in the title graphic/design world. Graceway fits very nicely into our media resource culture, and we love its mission and passion for design excellence.

Our core business is creating media resources.

As much as we love Echo, we found that to put on a conference we can be proud of required a lot of man hours. Echo is not a profit machine so hiring a big Echo team has never been an option. We have always just moved our team over to the Echo ‘world’ for a season. Every year we do this, we under serve our other companies significantly. Added up, we probably take two months off working on content for Igniter and maybe a month off of Graceway. Considering we’ve made commitments to our customers and members of those companies, it’s a big deal to us when we feel like we are under delivering. We’ve felt that more and more and this year, we even sent out an Igniter-wide apology letter to our customers.

When we look at our future, there are several things we feel led to start doing that we aren’t currently doing. Most of these stay true to our core business. However, the thought of growing in these areas and also maintaining a conference has proven too much.

Charles Du Bois says this: “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

We are in a season of evaluating who we are and who we want to be. We want to be a company that focuses on the next challenge up ahead. More to the point, we want to be a company that is willing to risk who we are for what we can become.

The Echo conference is a great thing in isolation. But when we look at who we are as a whole, we realize overwhelmingly the need to ‘freeze’ it. See? It’s hard for me to say quit doing it. Mainly because, in the back of my mind, I hope that we can someday do it or something like it again. I really do. But until then, we want to express how thankful we have been for the last six years. We have enjoyed the Echo conference so much and it brings us great personal pain to bring it to an end. We pray that the time, freedom, and the narrowed focus will allow God to use us in ways that bring even more glory to His name. Pray for us. And thank you so much for being part of something so special with us.

We welcome your comments and feedback on our company blog.

Rob's signature
Rob Thomas,
Executive Creative